Shock absorbers in poor condition are a risk factor, as well as a considerable deterioration in the driving experience.
This mechanical element is part of the entire suspension system of a car, which brings together a set of parts whose function is to mediate between the wheels and the chassis of the vehicle. The main objective is to absorb and neutralize the irregularities that the road presents.
This ensures that the tires are permanently in contact with the ground and that the feeling inside the cabin is one of complete stability.
How to know if the shock absorbers are in bad condition?
Very easy. In this article, we are going to share with you a series of tricks to identify the main symptoms of a damaged suspension, as well as the consequences it has on driving.
Shock absorbers in poor condition: unmistakable symptoms
Excessive car bounce
Each car has a greater or lesser rebound as a result of the hardness of the suspension and the settings used.
However, if you detect an increase in the bounce of your vehicle when going through potholes and irregularities in the road, it is very likely that the suspension system is damaged.
One of the easiest way to confirm this problem is to proceed to lean on the car body and push it down on each of the wheels. If the suspension is in good condition, the car should return to its original position without any bounce.
If not, you need to go through the workshop and proceed to change the shock absorbers.
Strange behavior in cornering and heavy braking
This is a fairly common symptom of excessive shock wear. It becomes evident when you proceed to make strong braking, and the chassis moves horizontally from one side to the other.
In the case of curves, the car leans excessively outwards and under-steers; that is, it tends to go straight.
Abnormal tire wear
Tires should wear evenly along the tread area.
In the event that they show wear at the ends or in the center, it is very likely that the tire pressure is not correct.
Find out how tires influence driving in our specialized article.
If the wear is uneven, then the problem is something more serious. In the best case, it may only be necessary to proceed with aligning the shafts. However, it could also be due to an oil leak in a shock absorber, a bad bearing, or one of the suspension arms has given way.
Strange noises when driving over bumps or curves
Bumps and curves are the events where the damping system receives the most stress.
If when passing by them, you hear some kind of strange noise, do not let it pass. The suspension is most likely damaged. The causes can be so varied that they are not worth exposing here. Go immediately to the workshop.
Anyone would realize that something is wrong with the suspension of the car when it is running uneven.
This symptom shows that the damping of one of the axles or one of the wheels is not in good condition.
The tilt can take place to one side, forward or backward. The best way to check this is to place the vehicle on level ground, where the unevenness of the chassis is clearly visible.
Keep in mind that if your vehicle has an air or air suspension system, it will need to be started for said suspension to activate.
As a general rule, it is due to some kind of leakage in the shock absorbers. However, one of the metal arms connecting the chassis to the wheels may also have been broken.
The latter is an extreme case, due to which the chassis will be completely sunk on one of the wheels. It goes without saying that driving in these conditions is very dangerous, as well as being able to cause multiple other breakdowns.
Shock absorbers in poor condition: consequences
Spotting shock absorbers in poor condition can save you more than one scare on the road.
- The grip in the curves, the loss of direction, and the aquaplaning are some of the most common consequences.
- In addition, the braking distance is also noticeably increased.
- Finally, the poor condition of the shock absorbers can also cause the rest of the parts of the suspension system – such as ball joints, bearings, arms, and other supports – to wear out more quickly.
Other Tips About Bad Shock Absorbers
Regardless of whether your car has ESP, a damaged suspension can completely throw the vehicle out of balance and cause a spin.
Each manufacturer establishes a series of review and change recommendations for the shock absorbers and elements of the suspension system, depending on the kilometers traveled.
The average life of these is usually 60,000 kilometers, although it depends a lot on the driving habits of the driver. The general recommendation is to carry out a service every 20,000 kilometers.